Researchers have found that these books are loved by both liberals and conservatives.

These days, it can feel almost impossible to navigate a get-together with family or dinner with friends without a political comment sparking a heated debate—even if everyone tends to get along. But despite our divides, literature shows us that there are ways to engage in essential conversations without getting into the polarizing details of current events. 

To uncover what books both liberals and conservatives both engage with, Andrew Piper and Richard Jean So, both professors of literature, studied the books read by members of the social media site Goodreads. To determine political affiliations, they searched readers’ bookshelves for positive reviews of highly partisan titles and labeled them a “liberal reader” or a “conservative reader” based on their opinions of those books. This resulted in a total pool of 27,852 readers. 

The pair then searched those bookshelves for fiction titles and identified which titles appeared most frequently, finding around 3,000 titles out of several hundred thousand that appeared on at least 100 readers’ bookshelves. What they found when they looked even closer at the data is that a large group of books appeared on both readers’ shelves in equal amounts. Piper and So call these “bridge books” because they bridge the gap between the right and the left, conservatives and liberals.

Below, find the full list of 100 bridge books, plus details about the 10 most popular selections, many of which touch on essential moral and political questions, offering a neutral point from which to foster conversations and connect with those whose views might be different from your own. 

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